News Archives: Study reveals impact of GPRC on regional economy
Released: Thursday, February 27th, 2014
GPRC brings big benefits to taxpayers and businesses, and earning power for students
The impact of Grande Prairie Regional College on our region is significant, adding some $139.4 Million in income to the economy of our service area in 2011-12 alone. Of this amount, $56 Million is the effect of College operations, $3.4 Million is the effect of student spending, and $80 Million is the effect of student productivity.
The statistics are part of a province-wide study released recently by eight participating Colleges, including GPRC. The study reveals that attending college also pays huge dividends for students who complete post-secondary education, reduces social costs for taxpayers and boosts revenue for businesses that hire college graduates.
Not only does post-secondary education pave the way for a higher quality of life for students by creating great career opportunities, it also provides the much-needed skilled workforce our province needs to thrive and remain competitive globally.
“GPRC and our partner institutions commissioned this study in 2013 to investigate the economic impacts created by GPRC on the regional economy,” says Don Gnatiuk, President and CEO. “We as Presidents all know that the impact of our colleges is significant; now we have the data and the numbers to quantify that impact.”
GPRC promotes economic growth in the GPRC Service Area in a variety of ways. The college is an employer and a buyer of goods and services, and the living expenses of students from outside of the region benefit local businesses. In addition, GPRC is a primary source of education to local residents and a supplier of trained workers to local industry.
Students with a college education earn more than individuals with a high school diploma because of the skills acquired in post-secondary studies. In fact, students will receive an average internal rate of return of 20.8 per cent on their educational investment, and this rate of return will continue throughout their working lives.
In 2011-12, GPRC served 3,822 credit students and 13,619 non-credit students. In order to attend college, students paid for tuition, fees, books, and supplies. They also gave up money that they would have otherwise earned had they been working instead of attending college. The total investment made by GPRC’s students in 2011-12 amounted to $46.3 million, equal to $13.1 million in out-of-pocket expenses plus $33.1 million in forgone time and money.
Taxpayers enjoy a wide range of benefits because of their investment in colleges. As students earn more, they pay higher taxes. Over the course of the students’ working lives, the provincial government will collect an additional $782.9 million as a result. The return on taxpayer investment for participant college students in 2011-2012 was 11.4 per cent.
Statistics show that students with advanced education are more likely to develop good health habits, commit fewer crimes and depend less on income assistance. Better health and reduced crime rates lead to fewer claims for employment insurance and social assistance. The sum of avoided costs related to health, crime and income assistance is estimated at $57.1 million.
The results of this study demonstrate that GPRC creates value from multiple perspectives. The college benefits local businesses by increasing consumer spending in the region and supplying a steady flow of qualified, trained workers into the workforce. It enriches the lives of students by raising their lifetime incomes and helping them achieve their individual potential. It benefits society as a whole in Alberta by creating a more prosperous economy and generating a variety of savings through the improved lifestyles of students. Finally, it benefits provincial taxpayers through increased tax receipts across the province and a reduced demand for government-supported social services.
“We are very pleased to have this report to share with our communities and our government representatives,” says Gnatiuk. “The full analysis is some 80 pages long, and I would be pleased to share that information upon request. It is a compelling case for the importance of post-secondary education in our society.”
- 30 -
Note: This study was conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International and is based on a conservative methodology. The report was comprised of data collected from the individual institutions, Statistics Canada, and the Government of Alberta. This report is an impact study, so it focuses on the impact our students make in the community; whereas, a contribution study would focus on the transfer of government resources to our institutions.
For further information please contact:
Lynne Ness, Corporate Communications Officer
Grande Prairie Regional College